Corydon Times
Last Updated: May 29th, 2018 - 09:44:03

Any social loafing going on?
By Barney Ogden
May 29, 2018, 09:42

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I like to do a little loafing once in a while, especially when loafing with a group of active fellow loafers; it requires little or no effort to open up a panorama of assessments and vistas of thought provoking story topics-- but only if you are a fortuitous member of a worthy assemblage of resolute loiterers. Not to be confused with a group therapy session; please no coddling or warm and fuzzies in a real dynamic team loafers setting.

In many a spirited session the topical opinions run on a whim with little interference to impede an impending, rebuttal, optional theory, or buttressing of thought in a real meeting of these paramount idlers. Be prepared to account for your opinions, they will not be forgotten in future sessions.

I have read in some very old history books that we owe a great deal of our American Constitution and independence to some group loafing sessions; where there were no Roberts Rules or a diagramed play book, or power point presentations to hold the meeting to an agenda of subject matters or accepted topical interpretations: free and respected speech was the order of business. You might say this early group of loafers were working as a group to achieve a goal of some kind of interconnecting consistency?

Some will insist that team loafing, with a cohesive cause, is the sport of old men and a lost and useless art amidst a puerile generation. Today’s need to know or get information is at everyone’s fingertips, so the gift of gab and that charisma and drama of the exemplification may be on the edge of extinctionation; who knows?

But what is, or was, that cohesive group nature of a real group loafing happenstance? Is it a need to share the laughter, the likes and opposition of thoughts, or the tears of an emotional happiness or sadness of a real point in time?

The late, legendary basketball coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, Jim Valvano was a great teacher of team cohesiveness; every player had a purpose and every player had responsibility to himself and to the team. Valvano’s necessary events for a successful day was simply put, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.”

And Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, wrote concerning the mass of potentialities and the opportunities in the choices we make, “Which of these will be condemned to nonbeing or which will be actualized? At any moment, man must decide, for better or for worse, what will be the monument of his existence, an actuality once and forever, an immortal ‘footprint in the sands of time’.”

There is that downside to everything I guess, and I came across the studied and unfavorable aspects of loafing in an article in Sports Psychology recently, and a scholarly approach to define “social loafing”, not to be confused with ‘team’ loafing.

Some wordsmiths define social loafing as the phenomenon of a person exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone.

Research on social loafing began with rope pulling experiments by Max Ringelmann, who found that members of a group tended to exert less effort in pulling a rope than did individuals alone. In more recent research, studies involving modern technology, such as online and distributed groups, have also shown clear evidence of social loafing. Many of the causes of social loafing stem from an individual feeling that his or her effort will not matter to the group.

So, in that explicatory of Homer Simpson, “Doh! but Boss, you can’t fire me: I haven’t done anything!”

And that ‘big’ however, may be a considerable matter if you have learned to get away with negligence and play the system of fashionable imprudence or expect exoneration by default. George A. Sargent promulgated the concept of ‘learned meaninglessness’ in his study of human nature.

Frankl believed that the last human freedom was the challenge, “ to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”, when there is no longer a challenge to change a situation, “ we are challenged to change ourselves”. Maybe Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding said it best, “Get busy livin’ or get busy die’s.”

Researcher, Dick Moss writes in an article of Sport Psychology - Team Cohesion Reduces Social Loafing and Improves Performance: Do some of your athletes coast through practice and never give their all during competitions? This mediocre effort may be due to low motivation and has been termed "social loafing" by sports psychologists. Research has shown that the following two methods can effectively decrease social loafing.

1. Increase Team Cohesion: Athletes working within a close team are less likely to loaf. There are several reasons for this. First athletes are more willing to make sacrifices and work hard if they are involved in a common goal with people with whom they have a positive relationship.

Second, athletes feel greater pressure to perform if their teammates are people whom they care for and don't wish to disappoint.

2. Increase accountability: Refer to Rule #1.
Mr. Moss may have something there? I suspect he may have been socially spying on a real dynamic team loafing session?